February 28, 2005 12:00 PM

Closer

Supporting nods often go to the very young or the elderly. At 67, Freeman qualifies as a veteran if not a codger and respect is due. He has already gone home Oscar-less three times (with nominations for Street Smart, Driving Miss Daisy and The Shawshank Redemption) and it would be a crying shame if he didn’t win this year for his spare, pitch-perfect performance as a retired boxer in Baby. Runner-up: Church, for nailing both the comedy and pathos in his role as a once-golden boy growing old.

Best Supporting Actress

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